(via NBA.com India)

It took him a while but finally, it seems like Carmelo Anthony is getting the respect and praise he deserves among young NBA fans, insiders, and executives.

Anthony was often the odd man out during the past couple of seasons. He was a scapegoat for the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets. More impressively, he was out of the league for over a year as no other franchise was willing to give him a shot, as if he hadn’t earned that right.

Then, injuries riddled the Portland Trail Blazers and Melo got another chance to prove his worth. Obviously, there were still plenty of doubters on his scoring ability, doubters that have been silenced now after his great performances – especially in the clutch – in the Orlando bubble.

But before joining the Blazers, most insiders had Anthony joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who were reportedly interested in bringing him mid-season. However, he wasn’t sure about the Lakers’ playoffs chances, so he declined, according to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:

“Lakers wanted him last year when it wasn’t certain if LA would be playoffs bound. He declined,” Robinson tweeted.

Let’s also remember that LeBron James advocated for his friend back then. He told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he would welcome Anthony to the Lakers with open arms, though no deal was eventually made:

“I think it would it be great to have Carmelo Anthony be on the Lakers. I believe Melo can still play the game. I believe I can help Melo,” LeBron said.

Now, Anthony is averaging 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 three-pointers per game on 32 minutes a night for the Blazers, and everybody owes him an apology after a Hall of Fame-worthy career.